Quality Control Problems with the New M6

I caged the following from a reader post on the Leica Camera Forum. Find it interesting that Leica can’t assure these things going out operating correctly, if not flawlessly. It’s not like Leica hasn’t had 25 years experience with producing the camera. You’d think they’d have any problems resolved by time they rolled out the new one at $5800 before taxes.

Had it for a week.  Three rolls scratched.  All in the same place.  Different types of film, developed at different places.  All with the same scratches.It’s at Leica NJ now.  With the final roll of film, I didn’t even bother to develop.  Just sacrificed a roll so Leica could see the scratches along the entire length, and sent that in with the camera.It was very nice that Leica did pack that nice little quality assurance card with this camera, saying it had been checked over multiple times during its manufacture.  Not exactly sure what they check apart from – is it a camera? Yes/No..

Some people may say, well how could they possibly check to make sure it doesn’t scratch film?  Well, just like I did…  Put a roll through it, no need to develop, look at the film.  If no scratches, we are good.  If scratches – then fix that $5600 camera before you ship it.  Is this really that complicated?  My $50 Kodak Ektar H35 camera that I recently bought does not scratch film.  But maybe I am expecting too much from a camera that cost 112 times as much?

The thing is, I am disappointed but not upset as I am fortunate enough to have other Ms to use.  But if I was someone who sold off everything to get one, the dream camera, and this happened?  I would be furious.  Anyway, I’ll see how this plays out.

…. There is an irony here that this is the first new M camera that I have bought, and the only one that I have that has issues…


Black Paint 2005 Nikon SP Reissue. Comes with a W-Nikkor 35mm f1,8

I applaud Leica for bringing back the M6. I would have preferred a new M4 (no electronics to screw up) but the idea that Leica would put a previous film camera back in production is encouraging and speaks to Leica as still a serious camera producer and not just producer of nostalgic vanity pieces.

I’ve been toying with the idea of buying one. I deserve something new and shiney before I kick it, and my wife can certainly sell it…or keep it with an eye to appreciation…but I’ve concluded that the better camera, and investment, is a still in box Black Paint Nikon SP reissue. You get a classic, collectible camera with an equally collectible W’Nikkor 35mm f1.8, all for about $1000 less that the new M6 sans optics. That’s a great deal

Once my M9M sells (it’s currently on Ebay) I’m buying that SP. Being a Nikon, I’m pretty sure It’ll be perfect out of the box.

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12 thoughts on “Quality Control Problems with the New M6

  1. Bill B

    There are 4 screws in the pressure plate, can you imagine that. There has been at least one complaint on LUF about a Leica MP scratching film, and we all know that the M6 is just a reskin of the MP. So that’s at least 2, for an issue that should NEVER happen. That’s like selling a sensor that starts to corrode and fall apart. Wait a minute. They should be embarrassed, really.

    As a Nikonista I would say go for the SP, it shares DNA with my Nikon F and that’s one heck of a pedigree. I look forward to your review. The M6 market is now in turmoil and prices of old ones will be capped by the price of new ones, although none of this brouhaha will affect prices of new or old Leicas. It’s amazing.

  2. Ron Himebaugh

    I feel like Leica left the building after the M4. If only a few thousand M3s had been released then it would be the most coveted camera an ordinary person could aspire to. It is perfect. The M2 is only slightly less so, although plenty of us would say it is the other way round. The M4 was the last gasp, then increasingly Leitz lost focus on what made Leica iconic. Probably just as well–if Leitz had not regrouped into a luxe fondle toy there would likely be no company left, another nostalgic casualty like Rolleiflex or Zeiss. Nikon made a (badly) calculated leap into the past and lost, I believe, quite a bit of money and opportunity cost with the revived S3 and SP. But what a great swan dive off the highest board into a near empty pool. Their cameras are great and the black SP is just what someone else said about the M3–if never used to take a single picture it still deserved to exist as the perfect fusion of form and function.

  3. Rob Campbell

    I wonder if old, never-used cameras really will work if taken out of their sealed boxes many years later. I’d be pleasantly surprised if the shutters still function at close to indicated speeds. My pristine F3 sits in the safe; I haven’t loaded it or fired the shutter in fifteen years. Why? I’d require to find batteries, just to make a few “exercise” clicks at each speed. (That was recommended back in the day, if you left cameras unused for a while.) The F2 never presented such a problem, and in my view, was a far nicer machine.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Hey Kenneth: I’m banned from Photrio so can’t see the links.

      BTW, I was just watching your video on the Nikon S3 2000. Nice piece. I just don’t understand why Nikon Rangefinders – certainly in our rangefinder and film renaissance – still haven’t seen a price increase around renewed interest. Frankly, an S3 is every bit the camera as is the M3, and the excellent period piece Nikkor optics – 5cm. 1.4, W-Nikkor 3.5cm 1.8 or 2.5 – are still ridiculously inexpensive next to the Leica Konaca Hexar or Contax G lenses. You’d pay +/- $2500 for a used M# with 50mm Summicron; an S3 2000, NIB, with the updated Nikkor 50mm 1.4 will run you a $1000 les. And that SP 2005 with the new 3.5cm W -Nikkor is a great deal if you’re coming from the perspective of someone who wants rare high-quality vintage rangefinder and optics they can find afford. PLus, that camera, priced as it is now, will NEVER depreciate from its current price point.

      1. Kenneth Wajda

        I know what you mean, the Nikons are incredibly well-built and they’re a fraction of the price. Canons, too. I have a Nikon S4 I picked up for $400 with a 50mm f1.4. And a Canon 7 with a couple of lenses that I don’t think I paid more than $200 for.

        I saw a photo with the photographer Nick Ut who photographed “Napalm Girl” and he was getting an award from the White House and he was wearing a Nikon rangefinder even though he made the Pulitzer Prize winning photograph with a Leica M2.

    1. Leicaphila Post author

      Kenneth: for some reason Fred Miranda will not let me onto the site. Constant wrong password yada yada. When I reset it doesn’t work either.

      Could you contact that guy and ask him to contact me at tvdweert@gmail.com. I’m interested in his SP

  4. Robert Coscia

    I got a great deal on a brand new Leica MP from a dealer that I could not pass up and so far so good, no film scratches. Seems to be Working as designed. I will be bummed out if film scratches were to occur.
    I think the butter feel click of my M3 shutter is a better feel, but was told to be patient and let it break in.
    Time will tell. I guess the feel is just the icing on the cake.
    I may be wrong but Ive always considered a camera body to just be a light tight box, period, and that its all about the lens. The glass of yester year is un reproduceable (is that a word?) and IMO gives a certain look. I read you cant get the silica that was used in the 1930’s + hence that older lens may not be multi coated, but they IMO have a “look” / “punch” that new lens cant reproduce. So I throw on a u/v filter or polarizing filter and call it a day to be equal to a multi coated new lens.
    Its been interesting using new plastic ? schneider or rodenstock enlarging lens compared with old metal schneider or rodenstock lens. I have “original” condenser and aristo cold light enlargers and very old lens and also “new” cutting edge Heiland LED cold light split grade enlarger and lens, I find its all in the look you ultimately want to end up with.
    Its a LOT of work going back and forth with wet developing technology new or old Vs pushing buttons on a computer / light room etc. to get or choose different “looks” as you sip a fruity cocktail with an umbrella in daylight.
    To each their own, Image on!
    Id like to use my Epson Perfection 4990 Photo scanner but my new computers will not recognize the software.

    1. Rob Campbell


      I have a Windows 8.1 set-up that works just fine. Today, I have had news from some security things on it that after the end of the year, they will no longer support 8.1. I wonder if I can get my money back? I don’t think that 8.1 even supports the Canon Cannoscan scanner that I have from the years of XP. Just as well I had so few old shots left, and that I scanned them all early on into my venture into making a website.

      It’s a goddam racket. We are being forced to buy new shit or give up. The latter is the most likely path for me. Anyway, my Lacie monitor has developed a stain effect right across the top quarter, so that will probably die soon. It cost me around 1200 euros ten years ago, the computer around the same. Put the two together, computer and monitor, and I’m looking at a pile of pension money. Hell, I use this little iPad for everything except photos and most of my e-mails; might be an appropriate time to let nature draw its own line underneath photography. Good grief! I hope I don’t become a cellphone photographer!

  5. Baladino

    Hello Tim. I’m commenting for the first time. I was moved to write by the fact that you have not only contemplated substituting a Nikon for the M6 reissue, you’re probably taking steps towards owning one. Compared to most readers and even you I started photography sometime in 2019. And this year I started exposing film after buying a brand new Leica M-A. I have since obtained a Leica M3 and have placed an order for a brand new Leica MP. The act of exposing film, developing and finally either scanning or making prints adds a lot of weight to a process of creativity. I’m partial to ISO 100 black and white film and occasionally even use Ektar 100 and Kodak Gold 200. What I’m trying to say is don’t be influenced by threads. There are known quality control issues. In this case possibly the screws on the pressure plate not being recessed adequately or the pressure plate not milled finely enough till there are burrs on the surface. This issues are correctable and Wetzlar has replaced some units with pressure plates with out obvious screws. The reissued Leica M6 is a thing of beauty with its black lacquer paint and it’s many upgrades compared to the original unit. I reckon you should either hold or purchase one and return it if you’re not happy. As a new Leica user, the inherent limitations place unique constraints upon the act of making an image. The absence of bells and whistles certainly does funnel the user into a path where pictures are created from a melange of instinctive and technical creativity. I decided to proceed with the purchase of a Leica MP since I do not like the film rewind lever on the M6. I prefer the one on the M3 and MA. Though I might get one eventually. It is indeed beautiful don’t you think Tim ?

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